A continuous flow contaminant removal membrane bioreactor system for LA purification using GMOs.

Production cost of high purity Lactic Acid (LA) in Green Biorefinery processes is significantly burdened by the cost of conventional purification operations. Toward a novel LA production scheme, UCD has developed GMOs that can selectively catabolize undesirable organic acids (e.g. contaminants). This study aims to develop and optimize an efficient LA purification method (using GMOs), by employing a novel continuously operating Membrane Bioreactor (MBR), wherein a biological process (contaminant removal) is integrated with a physical separation process (membrane filtration) in a single operation. Therefore, a multidisciplinary approach should be developed, taking into consideration the interrelating biological, chemical and physical phenomena involved.

The candidate will be based in CERTH, the largest R&D Centre in northern Greece and will be registered at Technische Univ. Wien (TUW). The candidate, under the supervision of Prof. A.J. Karabelas (CERTH) with inputs from Dr. S.I. Patsios (CERTH) and Prof. M. Harasek (TUW) will be trained on:

  • Development of analytical tools and monitoring techniques for hybrid biological/membrane separation processes (MBR),
  • Operation and process optimisation of hybrid biological/membrane separation processes (MBR),
  • Key operating issues, notably membrane fouling monitoring and mitigation techniques.

I am Alexandra Nastouli and I graduated in 2019 from my MSc in Chemical & Biochemical Engineering at Technical University of Denmark (DTU). I also hold a MSc degree in Environmental Engineering from the Democritus University Thrace. I recently moved back to Greece and I am placed in Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Greece (registered at Technische Universität Wien) in order to start my PhD in collaboration with AgRefine.

Using my professional and academic background within environmental and biochemical engineering, I would like to contribute to a more sustainable future. I am highly motivated in research of waste-to-energy technologies with experience in bioprocess development and optimisation (upstream and downstream). I have extended lab experience in GMOs handling as well as academic knowledge in Membrane Technology.

Me and my Interests

I grew up in a small island located in the Ionian Sea of Greece, called Lefkada. Till today, this is the place where I spend all my summers enjoying the exotic beaches and the mountainous landscapes. Since I was a kid, I was involved in a wide range of cultural events as a folk dancer. I enjoy to get in touch with people from other countries and learn more about their culture by participating in their traditions. I have a passion for dancing and thus I am a folk dancer for more than 20 years. I enjoy traveling and exploring of the beaten track places, cooking desserts and the movie nights with my friends and family at home. My new passion is landscape photo-shooting.